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Ongoing Competition for Talent

April 18 2018 - Employers are doing more in a competitive job market to recruit and retain recent post-secondary graduates according to a survey of 95 leading Canadian companies.

The survey "Navigating Change: 2018 Business Council Skills Survey" was conducted by Morneau Shepell in cooperation with the Business Council of Canada.

Major findings were:

  • 83% of ompanies surveyed participated in co-op programs and other work-integrated learning initiatives to help them identify potential new employees - compared to 76% in a similar survey conducted 2 years ago.
  • Again, compared to two years ago, companies were investing more in training. 51% averaged more than $1000 per employee per year on average and 30% spent $500-$1000 per worker. In 2016 the comparable numbers were 46% and 24$.
  • 17% of responding businesses felt that a shortage of skilled workers was having a severe effect on their industry. 40% indicated a moderate impact. Significant areas of skill shortages were:
    • information technology
    • skilled trades
    • analytics, statistics and quantitative analysis
    • engineering
    • leadership/management
  • Compared with 5 years ago, 70% of respondents said their expectations of fresh graduates were higher because of a changing work environment resulting from rapid technological advancements.
  • Similarly, employers felt that new graduates typically expected more from the workplace than their predecessors did five years ago. According to the report, "Recent graduates are looking for more money, challenging assignments, increased flexibility and mobility, and quicker advancement. Managing these expectations can be a challenge for employers."
  • On balance, participating companies have a positive view of 'disruptive technology' with 46% expecting increased employment from artificial intelligence and automation compared with 41% anticipating a decrease.

The Honourable John Manley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of Canada said:

"Businesses today operate in a highly complex, rapidly changing environment. The survey shows that Canadian companies are stepping up their efforts to hire graduates with a high level of technical capabilities as well as strong human skills such as the ability to collaborate and work in teams."

Stephen Liptrap, President and CEO of Morneau Shepell comented:

"Companies are facing unprecedented competition and disruption. They either adapt or they die. The 2018 Business Council of Canada Skills Survey clearly points to the importance of a diverse workforce that's well-equipped with the human skills required to succeed in this rapidly changing economy. I'm very pleased to see Canadian companies supporting employees during this time of change by investing in workplace training programs and committing to healthier workplaces."

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